Monday, January 19, 2015

The Ahoy Fountain

I first visited the Ahoy Fountain in Eldora, Iowa many years ago.  For some time I had been intending to go back to review the soda fountain.  That opportunity finally came when I scheduled a dentist's appointment in Eldora.  Afterward, my papa and I stopped at the Ahoy Fountain for lunch.
Now it may not seem fair to review a restaurant after going to the dentist, but my mouth was not anesthetized; I was in full control of my faculties, and I can guarantee an honest review.

The original soda fountain was installed in the pharmacy in 1928.  It was destroyed by a fire in 1948 and replaced.  In 1982, it closed when the owner retired, but was later re-opened.   

There is a treasure trove of memorabilia on display, including photos and news stories about the fountain; it was very interesting.  The only thing I disliked was that there were several vintage pin-up pictures as well, and though I'm sure the owners' intentions are to add to the old-time feel, I didn't find them in good taste.   The Coke advertisements, on the other hand, were very neat to see.
Eldora HealthMart Pharmacy is in the adjourning building, and you can walk right into the pharmacy from the soda fountain.  

For lunch I ordered a Greenbelt Green River ($0.89) and a deli sandwich with white bread, turkey,  Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise ($3.76).  Service was prompt, and my order was ready in no time.
The Green River was nice and strong, but it wasn't as cold as I would have liked.  I guess that is the trade off: more ice would have made it colder but also would have watered it down.  

The deli sandwich was very filling, but not at all exciting.  It tasted like something I could easily make at home by pulling out a couple slices of bread and tossing on a few ingredients from the refrigerator.  Next time I visit, I plan to try something more lively: perhaps a chicken sandwich or hamburger.  
I was just about too full to try dessert, but Papa insisted that to write a good review I needed to check out the desserts.  So for you, my dear readers, I made the great sacrifice of trying a Tuny Marks Mule ($2.00).  

A Tuny Marks Mule is a small coke glass filled with vanilla ice cream, covered with chocolate syrup, malt powder, and pieces of peanuts.  Marks was the name of the family that owned the pharmacy from 1920 to 1982, so that explains one of the three words.  It was very sweet and delicious; it's hard to go wrong with ice cream!

The atmosphere was very pleasant, and it was interesting to listen to the waitresses and other customers talk about their childhoods as they ate.  For many people, the Ahoy Fountain must bring back fond memories, but I still prefer the Ackley Soda Fountain.  It doesn't have as wide a selection of foods, but it is where my memories reside.  That doesn't mean I won't be returning to the Ahoy Fountain; one of these days I need to try their chicken sandwich and banana split!
Deli sandwich: 2.5 stars
Green River: 4 stars
Ice cream: 4 stars
Cleanliness: 5 stars
Service: 5 stars
Affordability: 5 stars
Linking with: Rubbish Tuesday.

112 comments:

  1. Wow, how neat! That looks like such a neat place. Glad you enjoyed it and survived the dentist! Thanks for the review, I remember it if I'm ever in Eldora, Iowa.

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    1. Glad I survived as well. It was one of the quickest and most pain-free dentist appointments of my life. Do let me know if you're ever this way.

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  2. It looks like a travel back in time. What is a Green River? I think I've never seen that here.

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  3. Good looking sandwich, I thought...

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    1. It wasn't bad--just a bit too much like my own cooking!

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  4. It's what I imagine a drugstore looked like in the 60's - am I right Bethany?
    A great place for high school kids to congregate for a milkshake and play the juke box!!!

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  5. love the sacrifice you made for your art, er, blog. :) yum! the green river is something new to me!

    love the soda fountain all the way around. you might want to link it up to rubbish tuesday (since it has a lot of old-timey things in it) at

    www.rubbishbyroan.blogspot.com/

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    1. I shall continue to make similarly noble sacrifices ;)

      Good idea Theresa! Thanks for the advice; I linked it up. Sometimes it's hard to think of vintage treasures as "rubbish," but I see the link-up includes all old things.

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  6. Bethany interesting place to visit> But as I know food in US is cheaper than in Europe

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  7. I love the restaurant and I don't like the dentist, course not their fault, who wants to be a dentist, ugh.

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    1. It doesn't seem like the job to choose if you want to be on the list of most popular people! But my dentist is a sweet lady.

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  8. The place is darling! Oh, what scope for the imagination. :)

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  9. looks like a place I would LOVE and such a cute review!!! the sandwich ingredients look very fresh and that's always a plus, even though it lacked luster!! I give your review 5 stars ;)

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    1. Thank you Debbie! Yes, it was nice and fresh!

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  10. I love everything about this place, especially the old Coke ads. I had never heard of a Green River before, so I had to google it! I guess you really do learn something new every day.

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    1. I guess it's a Midwestern thing. I always enjoy seeing the sights and experiences that you and other bloggers from around the country see/have.

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  11. I always love a good soda fountain! The Green River might not have appealed to me, but the ice cream would have!

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    1. I am yet to meet someone who doesn't like ice cream. I did have a friend who didn't like her ice cream cold and would let it sit and melt a while before eating it, but she still liked it.

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  12. Angel and I always loved wandering into those classic diner-feel sort of restaurants. True, the food isn't the most exciting, but the atmosphere is fun. The one that was close to our house in Michigan was a gathering place for groups of G=grandpas, it was cool to see them just hanging out with their buddies at the restaurant.

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    1. It is neat to find the gathering places for the older folks, the farmers, high schoolers, and different groups. I think the grandparents probably have the best stories though!

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  13. Looks like a place I would enjoy! The prices are good too!

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  14. Sounds like a lovely place! We don't have restaurants like these where I live; I'd love to visit one. I really need to go visit more places more. :/ ^.^

    xoxo Morning

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    1. It's neat to see the interesting places around us!

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  15. WOW I hate to go to the dentist, but this place is a game changer! How cool is this. In the early '60's friends and I would stop at a Rexall Drug store after high school for Cherry Cokes. What is a Green River? The Tuny Marks Mule sounds like a Mexican Sundae if you left off the malt powder and added Spanish peanuts. Your neck of the woods is not on my travel plans, but this place could change things. Tom The Backroads Traveller

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    1. I plan to keep on posting places like this until blogging friends like you are sufficiently tempted to visit the beautiful state of Iowa ;). Generally going to the dentist is no picnic for me either, but fortunately I don't have to go often...and the last couple times have been practically painless. Sounds like you have good memories at the drug store--cherry cokes sound good! A Green River is a lemon-lime soda.

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  16. I'd give it a try. I love places like that. I visited one last year in Abbyville, Alabama. It was delightful.
    R

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  17. My dentist is in Eldora too so might have to give Ahoy a try. Thanks for the advance scouting.

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    1. I wonder if we go to the same dentist?! I know there are at least 2 dentists in town. I go to Dr. Anderson.

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  18. Back in East Texas where I grew up, there is a drug store with an old fashion fountain and all that goes with it. However, it is not open anymore as the owner passed away and no one else has taken it over. Served the best milk shakes ever.

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    1. Mmmm! A milkshake sounds delicious right now. I'm starting to get hungry. Sorry to hear the old fountain/drug store was closed.

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  19. I haven't been inside a true diner since the 70s and that was in South Dakota. That was where I was first introduced to cantaloupe with ice cream- YUM This one looks like a fun place, but I agree with you on the looks of that sandwich..maybe jazzed up a bit.

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    1. Cantaloupe with ice cream?! I don't think I've ever heard of that! Sounds interesting.

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  20. Oh I do love a soda fountain! These pictures bring back memories!

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  21. This looks like such an interesting place to eat. I had never heard of Green River soda so I looked it up. Apparently they don't sell it here, out east. Looks delicious! :)

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    1. I think Green Rivers are a Midwestern thing...you easterners are really missing out!

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  22. What a quaint place! I love all the memorabilia. That alone would draw me in. Lovely photos as always, Bethany!

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  23. You look lovely, Brittany, and what a great review. I love the place and the food sounds really nice, too. By the way, I began my blog in February of 2012 and I have only, ever, done one restaurant review. I am giving you the link, in case you are interested. :) http://wrensden.blogspot.ca/2012/10/chalet-bar-b-q-montreal-quebec.html

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  24. My kind of place - I love old diners :) Thanks for sharing! Now if only I lived near The Ahoy Fountain....

    Have a wonderufl week!

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  25. I love seeing places like this as I think it is so important to preserve the past!! I would so stop here for lunch!!! Thanks for passing this one along! Wishing you a lovely week!

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  26. This is a very nice review, Bethany! This soda fountain restaurant looks very nostalgic.The sandwich did look a little ordinary, but the price was good, as well as for the dessert! I never had a green river drink before --I'll have to try one someday.

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    1. You should! My sister served green rivers at her high school graduation open house. They're becoming a bit of a family favorite.

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  27. Nice blast from the past, a generation before my time mind you but real interesting just the same!

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  28. I have always liked diners, my husband and I found a great one in downtown Denver this weekend and the food was wonderful.
    Good review, Bethany.
    This dinner looks very charming :)

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  29. Hello Bethany!:) This is streight out of the old American movies I used to watch. It takes me back a while, and it's full of happy memories. Sweet photo of you, and I'm glad your visit to the dentist didn't spoil your lunch. The ice cream would be my favourite. Good idea to give your critic of the Ahoy Fountain, and a very interesting post of bygone times.

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    1. It does look like a place some of the folks in the 50's and 60's tv shows would hang out after a good movie...The owner used to keep the soda fountain open late for the crowd on their way home from the theater.

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  30. It looks ravishing, beautiful place to eat something.
    I think I would go for dessert, is always delicious ice cream.
    Best regards, Irma

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    1. Agreed! I haven't tasted bad ice cream yet!

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  31. What a special time, Bethany at such a lovely place! Thank you for sharing your outing there with us!

    Hugs to you!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Kelly-Anne! Have a lovely day!

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  32. This sounds like a neat place to visit.

    Diana
    http://adifferentlenslens365.blogspot.co.nz/2015/01/the-old-wool-store.html

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  33. That's a cool place you went to! Thank you for sharing the pictures and the review. :)

    <3 Ashley
    creatingpreciousmoments.blogspot.com

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  34. Great review. I would certainly check out this one. We once had a pharmacy/soda fountain in the small town, but it has been gone for many years. Your post brought back some fun memories!

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    1. Ah, too bad to hear of the fate of the soda fountain in your town. I think I'm very blessed to have a couple in my area.

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  35. I enjoyed your review. You gave five stars to three very important categories. That would make me want to try the place out. :)

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  36. Hello Bethany, nice review. I like the vintage look of this soda fountain... It is great tos ee such places still exist.. The ice cream would be my favorite.. Have a happy day!

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    1. It is hard to beat ice cream! Have a lovely day as well.

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  37. what a great place this is! love that you also included old photos...sorry the sandwich wasn't anything special, definitely try a burger next time! i've never heard of that drink before and the dessert sure has an unusual name but sounds yummy!

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    1. I'm leaning toward a chicken sandwich for next time, but maybe a burger after that. I'm glad I did try the dessert!

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  38. Great review, Bethany. It looks like a pretty cool spot to eat and I do love sandwiches. I've never heard of a Green River drink either, but it does look interesting... :)

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    1. Green Rivers are lemon/lime sodas... and very delicious! I try to sample one at every soda fountain I visit.

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  39. I love me a good deli sandwich :) I love delis in general. Have a great Tuesday!!

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    1. You probably would have really enjoyed it then. Have an awesome week!

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  40. I like places like this...too bad the sandwich wasn't something to really delicious. But edible will do.

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    1. Yes, it was a lot like my own cooking, so not too bad. :D

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  41. How neat. Looks like a great place to visit.

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  42. Looks like a great place to relax and enjoy a good meal, and some fun.
    You always have the neatest things to post about, Bethany!
    Debbie
    xo

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  43. What a nice place! Thanks for sharing!

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  44. I've never been to a soda fountain... Thanks for all the photos and the review!! Glad you could taste everything after seeing the dentist!

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    1. Same here! Going to the dentist can sometimes be a bit of a traumatic experience, but thankfully not this time!

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  45. I love old places like this. lots of wonderful collectibles.

    But i have to ask...what in the world is a greenbelt green river?????????

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    1. Greenbelt is their name for it, since Eldora is in/right by the Iowa River Greenbelt. A green river is a lime+lemon soda pop or phosphate. It was developed in the Midwest about the time Prohibition started. Since breweries couldn't make beer anymore, they switched to producing ice cream and sodas, including Green River.

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  46. A wonderful and honest review! I like the five stars on cleanliness. That is high on my list! :)

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  47. Hi Bethany, What a great post! I think you should consider becomming a professional review writer. Well, I mean, seriously, I know exactly what to expect if I visit The Ahoy Fountain. What's really cool is that you make the Fountain seem like a place I want to try and yet you let us know that the sandwich could have been better. As always, you've added some neat photos. Now, I want to thank you for that comment you left on my blog about the Seahawks ... I absolutely loved it! : - ) Thanks again, John

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    1. Thank you, John! If anyone offers me the job of being a professional review writer, I'll be seriously tempted to take the position. It is a lot of fun to sample good food--especially with good company like my papa.

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  48. This looks like a fun place! You always find the cutest diners. :)
    I'm sorry your sandwich wasn't terribly exiting, but I'm glad your drink and dessert were good.

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    1. It is neat how small towns often have such neat old places to eat!

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  49. What a cool looking place and that dessert sounded so unique and yummy!

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    1. It certainly had a unique name...and it was good.

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  50. Love the vintage decor, the tiles and all of those little things that make this place look amazing, thank you for sharing, hope you are having an excellent week. ;)

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  51. Sounds like an honest review. Surprised to find a place that still makes a Green River. :) Great photos of the place, Bethany. Your comment about your Papa insisting on dessert to make a complete review gave me a big smile. He's a wise man! :D

    Lindy

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    1. He certainly is!

      This is at least the third place I've been to that serves Green Rivers, so they're alive (?) and well in my part of the country. :)

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  52. Bethany, I really appreciated your wonderful review of the Ahoy Soda Fountain! I love the vintage vibe, but have to admit the fare sounds, well, fair. I agree; you should definitely try something with a little more 'oomph', next time! Thanks for sharing all your wonderful thoughts on this establishment.

    Poppy

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  53. This was such a delightful post! Loved the review and especially the photos of this wonderfully restored old soda fountain/cafe! Awesome!

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  54. mmm this place looks so vintage and neat at the same time :) Glad you had fun there :)

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  55. Très curieux. La photo est joie et donne bien l'atmosphère de ce lieu original.

    Amitiés.

    Roger

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  56. i need to move to iowa. it sounds like it has a great grasp of its past and keeps it alive still today. i love the old style, no vintage places. what a blessing to be there. i love it. sort of like looking at a real life norman rockwell picture. thank you

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    1. Wait a couple months for it to warm up before you make the move ;). It is a very beautiful place!

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